Kgatleng COE Institutional Profile

Kgatleng COE Institutional Profile

Date: October 28, 2014
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At the end of 2012, Mme Valencia Mogegeh, the  Director of Women’s Affairs Department (WAD)  pledged to hold a training workshop for council  officials so that they better understand the work of  the Women Affairs Department and government’s  gender agenda. The workshop would not just be for  Kgatleng but for all those councils undertaking the  Centres of Excellence (COE) for gender  mainstreaming in local government process.

Before the COE process, Kgatleng, like all other councils, had no working relationship  with WAD. Probably this could have been due to a lack of capacity within the councils for  coordination and outreach. Keabonye Ntsabane, Gender Links Botswana Manager  confirmed that COE councils had moved a little bit forward in the past year following a
training of trainers workshop held in Palapye.

She said “We decided as Gender Links Botswana that the best way was to link with the  Ministry, because even as NGOs we do not have the capacity to service all  councils…They (councils) now have free interaction with WAD.”

The training exposed councillors and council officials to the fact that mainstreaming  gender is a government priority, and also got them to understand where WAD fits in the
government structure. This is in line with the cabinet memo, which calls on all  government structures to take up gender mainstreaming as a key issue.

Since then, WAD will be collaborating more closely with councils to move some of the  department’s work,because local government has the infrastructure that can effectively
contribute to fulfilling the government’s mandate on advancing gender equality.

This is some of the evidence on the structural and lasting institutional changes that the  COE process has brought to Kgatleng.  Located in the South East of Botswana and 44 km from Gaborone, Kgatleng is the  smallest district, with a population ofabout 73, 032 people. Of these, 51.3% of  households are female-headed (2001 census report). It shares its borders with South  Africa to the east.

Kgatleng became a COE in 2011 following a meeting held in February of the same year.  However, there was a little bit of a lull following restructuring of the council by the
Ministry of Local Government, which led to the transfer of most of the officials that were  in the gender mainstreaming team. This could probably account for why the council
seems to have regressed a little in its gender mainstreaming processes as some of the  institutional memory may have gone with the predecessors.

The good news is that the council revived the gender mainstreaming team in November  2012. There is a new eight member cross sectional teamled by the Deputy Chief
Executive Officer, Jason Sichele. This shows that there is political buy in from  management on the process. The members come from across various departments with
Mavis Ofentse as convener (focal person) while Samuel Leina Kedise holds the role of  Secretary.

When Ofentse met with the  Gender Links verification  team, she was upbeat that  they are going to be  implementing the gender  action plan, whose main  activities have been
mainstreamed into the  council’s strategic plan. They  have met three times since  November 2012.

She highlighted that they had  outlined the mandate of the  team:

  • To mainstream and coordinate gender concepts in the district council’s strategic plan.
  • To bring together all relevant stakeholders and ensure that the council departments and divisions do encompass gender issues in their plans and programmes.
  • To create awareness for council employees on issues of gender.

The council has a plan in place, which will be reviewedby the gender mainstreaming  team. This is necessary to realign the plan with council priorities as well as to remove
departments such as clinics and water, which are no longer council competency areas.The team has reported once to the CIPIC where every team is supposed to give an
update every month.

Kgatleng is yet to sign a statement of commitment, but have been implementing most of  the work around on the COE process and has gone through stages 1, 2, 4, 5, 7 and 8.The council has committed to sign the statement soon, but the leadership will decide on  the actual date.”It is evident that there is buy in because the Chairperson of the mainstreaming  committee is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer,” said Kedise during the verification  meeting.

The COE process has brought some noticeable changes to the council at the institutional  as well as community levels. An institutional structure, the gender mainstreaming
committee now exists. This is a sustainable way of mainstreaming gender in the council  in the long run because there are champions.Employees within the council are more gender aware. For example, people are starting  to be more open and are conscious that more men than women occupy leadership  positions,and the need for a gender balance. Everyone talks about the need to ensure  that more women participate in decision-making, especially at senior management  levels.

Kagiso Mapotu, another of the gender mainstreaming team who attended the meeting  lamented that the political sphere is performing dismally. The council only has two  women (10%) out of the 20 councillors. They were not elected, but special held  nominated positions.  There are other areas that are beginning to see change. When the government  introduced the economic empowerment programme so that women and men can have  equal access to resources and close the gaps, because of the consciousness brought by  COE gender training; the committee sees this as an opportunity to influence the  programme. For example, the committee will ensure that women benefit from tenders  through procurement, market stalls, and finance schemes among several initiatives.  Women are making inroads at middle management level, though there are challenges at  the top management level with very few women (32%). There is a care work initiative  with a budget, and both women and men are encouraged to participate. However more  women than men are involved.

Sports facilities have been built for both boys and girls at schools including soccer and  netball courts but there is no sex disaggregated data on the beneficiaries.  Gender violence continues to be one of the council’s flagship programmes, which has  also contributed to creating platforms of engagement for the award winning Kgatleng  District Council. Represented by Dineo Segobai, the council won an award for the work  they were doing in response to child abuse at the 2011 Local Government and Gender
Justice Summit. There is an increase in the cases of gender violence and passion killings in Kgatleng. This could be attributed to its proximity to Gaborone, the capital city, as one of the contributing factors to the rise in the violence cases as well as a change in lifestyles.

Kgatleng council community work together to end gender based violence

The community in Kgatleng district council mobilised themselves to form a gender based  violence community task force, after a violent incident involving a woman whose heart  was chopped out by her boyfriend and left at her uncle’s place. They felt that they need  to work as a community to address gender based violence including passion and ritual  killings that have become common in the district. Council officials, mainly social workers  and police, form part of the taskforce.  Regina Mun’one, a volunteer in the community forum explained to the Gender Links  verification team what the 20 member-committee does in her ward. This consists of  church members, pastors, councillors, health workers, police officers and social workers  from the council.

The aim is to talk to the  community about gender-based  violence because of the many  incidences that were taking place.  Community dialogues and public  events such as 16 Days Campaign  aim to create awareness and  encourage behaviour change.  Because they are volunteers,most  of their challenges are around  funding to maintain the

Reverend Moruti who was also  part of the verification meeting  explained how as pastors they link  this to the 10 commandments  from the Bible from the book of  Exodus. After such dialogues,  people open up about their  problems and we take them to the council social workers. Therefore, they make referrals  because they do not have the professional training to address most of the problems that  survivors of violenceraise.

They try to dispel some of the misinterpretations of the Bible that a woman was born  inferior toa man and change people’s mind-sets “to make them understand that a humanbeing is a human being”.

The community forum has contributed to creating a platform for addressing genderbased  violence. Police give the council feedback on crime and there seems to be a  reduction in the passion killings even though statistics are not available.  The GL verification team received records of council officials from different departments  and community members who received Information Technology (IT) training as part of  other activities relating to gender violence. During 16 Days against gender violence  campaign in 2012, they managed to participate in cyber dialogues: Role of Media and  the Sexual Harassment policies. They struggled because of the poor network. They havea computer room though are not on ADSL.

On 5th of December,Kgatleng held a joint activity with Stepping Stones as part of the 16  Days campaign. There were stalls from different institutions such as Women’s Affairs  Department, AIDS Coordinating Unit, gender NGOs and HIV and AIDS organisations,  those who promote circumcision and others. This facilitated the council’s engagement  with the community.

Implementing the COE process has not been without some challenges. There is a new  gender mainstreaming committee which took over from the old committee in November  2012 after a transfer of officials.  Ofentse added, “That is why things may be going slowly, because only two of us have  been trained on the COE process and around gender issues,that is myself as the  convener and the council secretary”.

This is why moving forward, the council has planned to write a proposal to WAD to  support a gender training/orientation workshop for the gender mainstreaming team. The
workshop will target team members, all heads of departments, divisional heads and focal  persons from all council departments to forge a common understanding among all
stakeholders. This is documented in the minutes of 15 November 2012 as one of the  concrete plans following the Palapye training workshop.

Not all departments have grasped the concept of gender mainstreaming which is a  challenge to implement the plan. The November meeting resolved have gender focal
points from every department. Kesidi mentioned that they are encouraging those who  have been trained for IT to be focal points because they already have some knowledge
of gender concepts.

Kesedi expressed concern on  the lack of women’s  participation in decisionmaking  and the few that are  there do not necessarily go  into the strategic areas.  There are two arms of the  councils:  The administrative arm and  the political arm.  Administratively Kgatleng has  made headway.Out of council  departments there are 24  strategic positions only 8  (33%) are occupied by  women. There were two  deputy CEOs and one was a  woman but early February  2013 she was replaced by a  man.

Politically there are only have two women out of 20 councillors. So the council is also  structured around this in terms of committees that make decisions.

Men chair and dominate all strategic committees. For example, the finance and  performance monitoring committee and the self-help housing agency (SHHA) that is  meant to assist the low-income bracket to build is chaired by men.  The two women are members to the following: One is a member of the audit committee  and the SHHA and the other is also in the SHHA and Education, Health and Social  Services committees. The two ladies were telling the council that this is the area that  they will represent the electorate the most.

Kesedi does not believe that the this is the most strategic thing to do. ” I asked (the two  women) if the finance committee is not more powerful that the others… what if the men  can take a decision to say we are not financing SHAA anymore? We need to bring  women councillors on board so that they place themselves strategically in these  committees and show them the importance of each of these committees”.  As mentioned earlier the two women came through as special nominations – so in  essence it is a council made up of male politicians.

The gender mainstreaming  committee also expressed  that they have a plan in  place but do not have  funding. Increasing human  and financial resources  dedicated to implementing  the council’s gender action  plan will strengthen its  performance towards  mainstreaming gender in all  its work.  For example, there is not  much money to ensure  improvement of street  lighting with only one main  street that has lights but it,  like many others, is not  named.

Next steps include:

  • Purchasing books on gender such as the SADC Gender Protocol Barometer for Botswana and the SADC region to improve knowledge and understanding of the subject.
  • Send the proposal to WAD for gender training and orientation for targeted groups within the council
  • Agree on the 2013 activity plan which currently includes: – The orientation workshop for gender mainstreaming team.- Exchange visits to benchmark COE process with Lobatse, Chobe and Sowa districts.- To appoint gender focal persons for each department.- Review the gender action plan with Heads of Department by April 2013.

Documents handed in during the verification exercise include:

  • Gender action plan
  • Two sets of minutes for the gender mainstreaming team
  • Action plan for 2013
  • Cyber dialogues report for 2013 and participants list
  • Management chart for Kgatleng



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